Regional

Samoan man tests positive for Covid in quarantine

A 70-year-old Samoan man has tested positive for Covid-19 while in quarantine after arriving from Melbourne. Samoa’s Director General of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri, announced the case this morning, saying the man is now...

Cook Islands group rebuilding eroded coastline with sandbags

The Cook Islands environmental group, Te Ipukarea Society, is triallling a different approach to sea-wall construction. With funding support from the Global Environment Facility to combat climate change, the organisation is experimenting with sandbags as a sea barrier at Avana Harbour on Rarotonga. Te Ipukarea’s Kelvin Passfield said a rehabilitation of the zone around the...

Fiji flight bringing ‘essential’ workers to Marshall Islands

The first group of workers to arrive in the Marshall Islands since the border was closed in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic are scheduled to arrive today on a chartered Fiji Airways flight. The government-owned national carrier Air Marshall Islands is chartering a Fiji Airways aircraft to bring in 49 people from Fiji who...

Govt to allow 2000 horticulture workers in from Pacific under strict conditions

The government has offered help to the under-pressure horticultural sector by allowing 2000 Registered Seasonal Employer, or RSE, workers in to help pick fruit and vegetables this summer. Growers had complained that without these workers, some produce would rot unpicked. The government has however imposed strict conditions. The workers would have to be paid the...

Tonga youth NGO hopes to end violent school rivalries

Tonga’s only youth run NGO is hoping to end violent interschool rivalries through its mentorship and outreach programmes. Fighting between high school students, particularly boys, is a serious problem in the kingdom with some deep historical and religious roots. In the worst altercations children have been admitted to hospital with serious injuries and there has...

Man arrested in CNMI for terror threat

Police on Saipan have arrested a man for allegedly threatening a shoot-out at a Northern Marianas Department of Labor office. The office hosts a federal assistance programme for US workers who lost their jobs or have reduced hours due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Police charged Zaji Obatala Zajradhara with terroristic threatening, after a Labor employee...

Vanuatu Court told Parl Secs first appointed 13 years ago

Vanuatu’s deputy prime minister, Ishmael Kalsakau, has told the trial of former prime minister, Charlot Salwai, that parliamentary secretaries were first set up 13 years ago. Mr Salwai is being tried on corruption, bribery and perjury charges. This comes after Mr Kalsakau had made a criminal complaint, contesting Mr Salwai’s assertion that his appointment of...

Young Papuans killed in attacks in Puncak Jaya

Reports from Indonesian’s Papua region say a West Papuan teenager was shot dead in a mystery attack in the central highlands. Another male student who was with the victim was also shot in last Friday’s attack but survived and later found help to reach a medical clinic. According to the Indonesian state Antara news agency the pair...

26th November

Solomons extends State of Public Emergency

Solomon Islands has extended its State of Public Emergency regarding Covid-19 for another four months. This followed a declaration by Governor-General, Sir David Vunagi last night to further extend the so-called SOPE. The extension was declared after the expiry of the country’s second SOPE on Tuesday. A statement from the Government confirmed the extension stemmed...

PNG parliament thrust into uncertainty as MPs test positive

Papua New Guinea’s political crisis has been thrust into new uncertainty after three MPs tested positive for Covid-19. The three MPs were in Prime Minister James Marape’s camp at Loloata Island during the ongoing political stand-off. A member who first tested positive was isolated away from the rest of the government camp on Loloata Island,...

Vanuatu’s Deputy PM questioned as witness numbers drop in high profile trial

The prosecution in the corruption, bribery and perjury trial of a former Vanuatu’s former prime minister has indicated it may reduce its number of witnesses. Public prosecutor, Josiah Naigulevu, told the court yesterday that he proposed to have another meeting with the defending lawyers to reduce his witnesses under a new Memorandum of Agreement. There...

Wallis and Futuna records third Covid-19 case

Wallis and Futuna has recorded its third case of Covid-19. The infected individual, who is asymptomatic, arrived in the territory from France on 16 November. The person tested positive while in quarantine and has now been transferred to the hospital’s isolation ward. People arriving in Wallis and Futuna undergo two Covid-19 tests before leaving quarantine....

Fiji police, human rights chief probe alleged school abuse

Investigations are continuing into the alleged abuse of four students at a school in Fiji. Police said the matter was reported to them by parents of three of the students last week. Police said the students claimed they were stripped naked and chillies rubbed on their mouths and private parts. The students, in year nine...

Samoa postpones first US repatriation flight

Samoa’s government has postponed the country’s first repatriation flight from the United States. The flight, scheduled to arrive this weekend has been postponed to a later, yet to be confirmed date. The Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, announced the decision reached by cabinet on Wednesday and apologised to the families of the 300 passengers booked...

Vale sale likely to dominate New Caledonia-France discussions

A group of New Caledonia’s political leaders will meet with the French Overseas Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, via video link this morning to discuss the country’s sovereignty. However, a topic likely to dominate discussions is the sale of the Vale nickel plant in the south of New Caledonia. Brazilian-owned Vale is in exclusive negotiations with a...

US offers counter-China funding for Pacific nations

The US State Department is to spend $US200 million on programmes for Pacific Island nations in order to counter Chinese influence. Washington alleges China’s “aggressive” behaviour is threatening the region’s stability and the sovereignty of some nations. Sandra Oudkirk, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said there had...

Oil prices rally further on vaccine optimism despite inventory rise

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil rose for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, shrugging off an industry report showing a higher-than-unexpected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles and extending a rally driven by hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine will boost fuel demand. Brent crude was up 54 cents, or 1.1%, at $48.40 a barrel by 0247 GMT,...

French parliament votes through law that curbs identifying police

PARIS (Reuters) – A draft law that would make it a crime to circulate an image of a police officer in certain circumstances passed the first hurdle in France’s parliament on Tuesday despite protests from rights activitsts and journalists. Opponents say the law – steered through parliament by tough-talking Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin – would...

Home Depot reaches $17.5 million settlement over 2014 data breach

(Reuters) – Home Depot Inc, the largest U.S. home improvement retailer, on Tuesday reached a $17.5 million settlement to resolve a multistate probe into a 2014 data breach where hackers accessed payment card data belonging to 40 million customers. The settlement with 46 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., stemmed from a breach between April 10,...

Canadian province Alberta bans indoor gatherings to curb COVID-19 spread

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) -The Canadian province of Alberta said on Tuesday it would ban indoor social gatherings, halt classes for some students and reduce retail store capacities to slow the spread of COVID-19. Premier Jason Kenney also capped attendance at worship services and said in-person dining at restaurants would be limited to members of the...

Rejecting Trump’s foreign policy approach, Biden says ‘America is back’

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) -President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States will be “ready to lead” again on the global stage, turning the page on Republican President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies as he pledged to work together with the nation’s allies. Introducing his foreign policy and national security team, the Democratic former vice...

German states plan to relax virus rules for Christmas

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s 16 federal states plan to allow gatherings of up to 10 people over Christmas and New Year, offering some relaxation of coronavirus restrictions to let families and friends celebrate together, a draft proposal showed on Tuesday. Leaders have also agreed to dramatically boost capacity on state-owned railway Deutsche Bahn through the...

Airlines set to lose $157 billion amid worsening slump – IATA

PARIS (Reuters) – Airlines are on course to lose a total $157 billion this year and next, their main global body warned on Tuesday, further downgrading its industry outlook in response to a second wave of coronavirus infections and shutdowns afflicting major markets. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which in June had forecast $100...

Plasma from recovered patients shows little benefit in those hospitalized with COVID-19: study

(Reuters) – Using blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to treat patients with severe pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus showed little benefit, according to data released on Tuesday from a clinical trial in Argentina. The therapy know as convalescent plasma, which delivers antibodies from COVID-19 survivors to infected people, did not significantly improve patients’ health...

Germany to give 430 million euros a year to Afghanistan

GENEVA (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign minister on Tuesday pledged to give 430 million euros ($510.45 million)to Afghanistan next year and through to 2024, provided that the country shows its commitment to the peace process, among other conditions. “It is in this spirit of mutual responsibility that we will provide up to 430 million euros in...

25th November

Spain to vaccinate workers and residents at nursing homes first

MADRID (Reuters) – Elderly residents and health workers at nursing homes will be the first to get vaccinated against the coronavirus in Spain, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Tuesday, unveiling a national vaccination plan that is due to kick off in January. Other health workers will be next to be vaccinated, Illa said, with...

Germany has started reducing troops in Taliban stronghold of Kunduz – military

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is reducing its military presence in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, a stronghold of the Taliban where German troops have been advising Afghan forces on the fight against the insurgents for years, the military said on Tuesday. The move was planned by NATO’s mission in Kabul in late summer and...

UK’s four nations will relax COVID restrictions to save Christmas

LONDON (Reuters) – The four nations of the United Kingdom have agreed to relax COVID-19 restrictions for Christmas to allow up to three households to meet at home for five days. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have taken differing approaches to handling the pandemic so far but the leaders of the devolved nations reached...

Foreign aid to Afghanistan could reach $12 billion over four years, some with conditions

GENEVA (Reuters) – Foreign donors pledged a projected $12 billion in civilian aid to Afghanistan over the next four years at a conference on Tuesday, but many made it conditional on protecting human rights and making progress on peace talks in a major shake-up for the country’s economy. Ville Skinnari, Finland’s minister for development cooperation...

Tigrayans accused of massacre in Ethiopia war, both sides claim advances

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s state-appointed rights watchdog accused a Tigrayan youth group on Tuesday of killing hundreds of civilians as federal and local forces both claimed advances in a three-week war in the country’s mountainous north. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government said enemy soldiers were surrendering as it advanced towards the regional capital, but...

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